Edward Ashton Rollins: Benefactor of Faith

Edward Ashton Rollins Biography

Edward A. Rollins was born in Wakefield, NH in 1828. He spent his formative years in Great Falls, N.H., and entered Dartmouth College in 1847 graduating with honors in 1851.  Immediately after graduation he entered the study of law and was elected to the N.H. state legislature in 1860 where he twice served as Speaker of the House."

Moving to Washington, he accepted the position of cashier in the new Bureau of Internal Revenue in 1863, ultimately becoming its director. Rollins moved to Philadelphia in 1868 as the President of the National Life Insurance Company, and subsequently he became President of Centennial National Bank, in whose service he remained for the rest of his life. During this period he took an interest in railroad and other business enterprises, acquiring considerable wealth.

At the same time, Mr. Rollins took his civic and religious responsibilities seriously and was known to employ his wealth generously. He was a member of the Sessions (governing board) of the Walnut Street Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia, and his gift of the chapel to his college was not the first of his benefactions. The chapel was erected as a tribute to his father and mother, Daniel G. and Susan Benny Rollins and to his wife, Ellen. Due to illness Mr. Rollins was unable to attend its dedication. However, he was present at the first service of Morning Prayer ever held there. Five days later on September 12, 1885, Mr. Rollins died, and was honored at the Chapel's first memorial service.